The Road Chose Me: Driving a Jeep Wrangler 80,000 miles around Africa for 2 years

shortbus4x4

Expedition Leader
If you get a chance do a walking safari in Luangwa. I did it when I was a kid with my family. Two guides with rifles and a small group of people. Makes you very aware humans aren't the top of the food chain in some places. The guides were most nervous about the Cape buffalo, lions and other critters not so much.
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
If you get a chance do a walking safari in Luangwa. I did it when I was a kid with my family. Two guides with rifles and a small group of people. Makes you very aware humans aren't the top of the food chain in some places. The guides were most nervous about the Cape buffalo, lions and other critters not so much.
Yep, it was magic. We saw elephants up close, and the ranger didn't even blink when he spotted a lioness staring at us less than 50 yards away. He said lions are not a concern, only lone male elephants (unpredictable) and hippos on land.

Luangwa is a magical place.

-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
I have crossed into Malawi - a painless border crossing.



Story about the crossing here: http://theroadchoseme.com/into-malawi

I have been camping lakeside and enjoying paradise - Lake Malawi is hard to beat!



Tons more photos here: http://theroadchoseme.com/cape-maclear-lake-malawi

and here: http://theroadchoseme.com/north-along-lake-malawi

..and now after driving up a mountain, I'm camping at a place called Mushroom Farm overlooking the lake. It's fantastic.


More: http://theroadchoseme.com/mushroom-farm-livingstonia

Malawi has been great, though a little difficult. With the language barrier and extreme wealth disparity I found it virtually impossible to connect with the local people - a first on the continent for me.

Tanzania is up next!

-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Dan,

Excellent stuff. Thank you for sharing. Very inspirational!
Just found your thread and blog, holy inspiration batman! Subscribed!
Thanks for the kind words!

...

I have driven into Tanzania, which turned out to be the hardest border crossing of my life.
I don't have a "Carnet De Passage" which is an international customs document for the Jeep, and so far I have managed every country without one. Tanzania didn't want a bar of it.
Officially their Temporary Import Permit is only for vehicles registered in nearby African countries, and so technically I MUST have a CDP.
After lots and lots and lots and lots of discussion and me basically begging, the guy finally let me use their Temp. Import Permit system!



Read the full story here: http://theroadchoseme.com/into-tanzania

After a week of R&R and fun on Zanzibar, I have now cut across Tanzania, and I'm checking out Kilimanjaro. Wild camping in the shadow of a big glacier-capped mountain feels just like being back in South America.



More: http://theroadchoseme.com/around-kilimanjaro

Tanzania is enormous, I'm cutting inland now to checkout a couple of tiny countries in the very heart of Africa!

-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi All,

I roamed across Tanzania, finding remote places and friendly locals



Tons more pics here : http://theroadchoseme.com/across-wild-tanzania


And now I have driven into Burundi, the tiny country that labels itself "The Heart Of Africa". I had to swap back to driving on the right after 10 countries driving on the left, and it feels exactly like West Africa.
Ebola check at the border, totally French speaking, a lot less development, humidity, rain, mud and really raw.





Border crossing story here: http://theroadchoseme.com/into-burundi



More Burundi here: http://theroadchoseme.com/wandering-burundi

It's a blast from the past to drop back into what feels like West Africa - A really good one!

-Dan
 

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Dan

thanks for the update. I missed Burundi last time I was in that region, and I regret it....I will go back.
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi All,

Burundi turned out to be nostalgia in the best possible way. Fully French speaking, much less developed than nearby countries, really friendly and down to earth people and some great wilderness spots to explore.




Here's a great wilderness hot spring I managed to locate:


And Burundi even has a claim to the source of the nile river! From this point all the water that flows off one side of the mountain goes into the Congo River, from the other it all goes into the Nile... all the way to the Mediterranean in Egypt



Now I have driven into African country number 29, Rwanda.
Immediately I can see it's very different than other countires. Since the genocide 25 years ago they have bonded together to form a very strong and unified country. There is absolutely ZERO trash to be seen - everything is extremely neat and organized.
It's vibrant, fast and really friendly!

The mountains the background here are in the mighty Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - I miss that place!






Read the full story of the border crossing here: Into Rwanda | The Road Chose Me

-Dan
 

BobsCreek

Adventurer
Dan, do you happen to know your average "daily" budget for Southern and Eastern Africa?

Even broken down by region?

Did I ask this before and forget what you told me?

Also, what exactly are you doing for vehicle and medical insurances?
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Dan, do you happen to know your average "daily" budget for Southern and Eastern Africa?

Even broken down by region?

Did I ask this before and forget what you told me?

Also, what exactly are you doing for vehicle and medical insurances?
I don't keep track of mine perfectly, but a really, really common budget for 2 people to drive a 4x4 to anywhere on the planet is $1500 USD /mo.
If you want to eat out and drink beer most nights, you can bump that up to $2000 USD / mo.

I'd say I'm right around $1400/mo, and now I'm being selective about which National Parks I visit because some are stupid expensive.

For vehicle insurance I now have COMESA, which is liability valid in basically every country of East Africa. You get it once you're here.
Comprehensive would cost 10x more than the Jeep (if I could even get it), so I don't have it.

For medical I get policies from World Nomads. They are awesome for travel insurance becuase you can buy it from anywhere in the world, renew from anywhere, claim from anywhere and there is no time limit on how long you can be away from "home". You can do it forever. I have never claimed with them, but everyone I've met says it's painless and works. - http://theroadchoseme.com/travel-insurance

-Dan
 

BobsCreek

Adventurer
Yup, parts of Tanzania and Kenya are just not going to happen for me, the park pricing is insane in Crater and the areas.
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Yup, parts of Tanzania and Kenya are just not going to happen for me, the park pricing is insane in Crater and the areas.
There are still tons of beautiful places to see, and tons of wonderful wildcamping to be had within a couple of hours of parks that cost $400USD+ per day.
Super friendly locals too.
And ZERO tourists.

ie. this little adventure is less than 2 hours from Serengeti and Nongorongoro, cost me $0.
http://theroadchoseme.com/across-wild-tanzania

-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi All,

Rwanda was great, I found some fantastic camping on the side of Lake Kivu:


and then went looking for mountain Gorillas near volcanoes



Read More: http://theroadchoseme.com/volcanoes-national-park

It's a little mind-bending, but after almost 45,000 miles I have just driven into country number 30 in Africa.
I have no idea when that number got so high, it honestly feels like it's been about 6 months on the road (it's been 2 and a half years...)

The border crossing was extremely simple and straightforward, everyone is really friendly. I had to yet again swap driving sides of the road.
I'm back to driving on the left for Uganda and Kenya, then I'll swap back to the right side for the rest of Africa.



Read about the border and my first impressions of Uganda here: http://theroadchoseme.com/into-uganda[/URL

Soon I'll have to start planning and thinking about the final push North to Egypt.

-Dan
 
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